When it gets this hot, sometimes all you want to do is crank the AC and watch something good. Luckily, this week's Friday Five has you covered, with options for big blockbusters, TV dramas, and documentaries. And it wouldn't be the Friday Five without a solid music recommendation to add to your summer playlists. So hunker down, turn up the air conditioning, and tune into Volume 82.
Jordan Peele has earned his reputation as a writer/director whose work you have to see in theaters, and until he proves otherwise, we’ll race out to see anything he makes. And it’s not just because of the cinematic quality of his work. Peele’s last two films, Get Out and Us, immediately became part of the zeitgeist and cultural conversation. You want to see them in a dark theater, surrounded by an audience, fully immersed and hanging on every moment. Few directors are as good at surprising viewers as Peele, and hopefully Nope won’t be an exception. Peele reunites with Daniel Kaluuya, fresh off an Oscar win, and Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun also headline the cast. To be honest, based on the trailer, we aren’t entirely sure what Nope is about. There’s a UFO of some sort hovering over the main characters’ ranch, so maybe it’s aliens? Regardless, it’s amazing to see the transformation of Jordan Peele from sketch comedy star to horror/thriller stalwart, and we’re excited his next project is finally here.
Thrillers don’t only have to be at the theaters these days, though, and there’s a pretty damn good one currently on Apple TV+. Black Bird comes from creator and legendary novelist Dennis Lehane, and it hits all the notes of Lehane’s best books. Taron Edgerton and Paul Walker Hauser go head-to-head in a battle of huge movie stars on the silver screen, as Edgerton’s lead tries to get a confession out of Hauser’s serial killer. But those two aren’t the biggest stars taking the stage in the prison drama. The late Ray Liotta’s final role was in the Apple TV+ show, and it’s worth tuning in just to see the acclaimed actor one final time. If you’re looking for a light, relaxing show to wind down to at the end of the night, this probably isn’t it. But if you want to watch one of the masters of the genre tell an exciting story, you’ve gotta check out Black Bird. And not all the episodes are out, so you can catch up and join in on the weekly conversation.
The Last of the Movie Stars
While movie stars might bounce between TV and movies these days, that wasn’t the case in the Golden Age of Hollywood. And perhaps no two stars represented the era better than Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Now, Ethan Hawke has put together a documentary encompassing the lives and careers of the two stars for CNN Films, and we are extremely excited for its release. Hawke is one of our favorite actors working today, and it’s no surprise that he embraced the challenge of telling the story of the much-celebrated couple. But this isn’t your standard documentary. It uses a lot of unheard interviews that people thought were lost to time, and Hawke had various current actors read the transcripts to give it the feel of a stage play. George Clooney and Laura Linney headline the cast, playing the “parts” of Newman and Woodward. You can feel the reverence and nostalgia for the two stars just through the trailer, and now we get six full episodes of it! CNN Films has produced a lot of stellar docs on different topics in Hollywood, and we feel like their collaboration with Hawke will add to that legacy.
The Kooks - 10 Songs to Echo in the Dark
While they don’t often borrow from the reggae influences like a lot of the beach tracks we put on our summer playlist, The Kooks have still always had a summery sound in our minds. Their newest album, 10 Songs to Echo in the Dark, really plays into that, too. The Kooks have taken an interesting path to releasing their latest album, choosing to drop songs in sets of three as EPs, prior to releasing the full compilation this week. They’ve said that they’re willing to pass on the commercial appeal of singles in order to release the music the way that they want to. It’s been a COVID production, and their hard work seems to have been rewarded by the end product. “Beautiful World” features Milky Chance, and does have some of the more traditional beachy vibes we go for. We love all of the songs on the album(s), although “Closer” jumped out to us as sharing a lot musically with their biggest hit “Naive,” while showing the band’s evolution. We’re excited that the compilation is out, so that it makes it easier to listen to all of the songs right in a row – although we haven’t minded hopping around between EPs. However you listen to it, you’ll have a lot of new summer music to check out.
Speaking of beach vibes, our design account this week hits all the right notes for our ideal style. @da_schlecti is a designer on Instagram who is, by his own words, “stuck in the 80’s” but we definitely don’t mind. He uses a ton of pinks and light blues to set the scene, relying on the color palette to give off the combination retro and tropical feel he’s going for. The designs often feature palm trees, pools, and sunsets to bring the viewer into the summertime mood. But he also often includes cassettes, landlines, and old school sunglasses to also make you feel like you jumped into a time machine. If you want any pop of color added to your leisurely Instagram scrolls, this is the account for you. All of the posts should instantly improve your mood, and transport you back to a simpler time. These days, that’s all we could ask for in a design account.